Swan Christian Education Association (SCEA) celebrates 41 years of operation in 2023, with more lives being positively affected by SCEA schooling today than ever before. In 2024, we expect that SCEA schools will collectively welcome 5,000 students into their eight locations across the metropolitan area of Perth.
Today in SCEA News, we pay tribute to a man who has played a significant part in SCEA’s meteoric growth over the past decade – Mr Rob Edkins.
Way, way back in November 2014, Rob became a SCEA Association Member. He and his wife, Vicki, have three boys and were proud of the way in which Swan Christian College was helping to shape their sons in their faith and their future aspirations.
In 2016, Rob was invited to join the SCEA Board. He had significant Board experience with different organisations and the opportunity to serve in this voluntary capacity was an act of sacrifice and service to SCEA.
In November 2017, Rob became the Board Chair, and the time required to fulfil these commitments increased dramatically. SCEA had changed it’s Chief Executive Officer in Rob’s first year on the Board, and this precipitated numerous structural and personnel decisions as the Association sought to navigate this new landscape, learning to grow together as Christian schools in an organisation that required solid governance and oversight.
The Board Chair not only gives significant time to ensure that this multi-million dollar organisation is fulfilling its Christian mission, but they also lead the Board through difficult situations, including school parent, staff, and Association Member challenges. This can sometimes make the burden of leading the organisation a heavy one.
In late 2018, the search began for a Chief Executive Officer to follow on from Mr Neil David. The announcement of a successful candidate in early 2019 (Dr Graeme Cross) and the subsequent handover from Mr Neil David in June 2019 opened a new chapter for SCEA. Rob would now work with Graeme to consolidate the structural changes and SCEA schools would grow at a rate not seen before in the organisation’s history.
In 2018, SCEA’s newest school (Northshore Christian Grammar School led by College Principal Mr Stuart Chisholm) was growing rapidly, and each new stage of the foundational schooling journey was overseen by Rob as Board Chair. At Southern Hills Christian College, the new leadership team assembled by College Principal Mr Paul Beacham also required significant time and support from the SCEA Board, with Rob personally visiting the college on a number of occasions to talk to families and encourage the staff.
In 2020, Rob oversaw numerous meetings regarding the pandemic conditions being faced by SCEA schools. Again, the schools grew, and Rob was always seen as an encouraging force. He was keen to let staff know that the Board was highly impressed with how hard the SCEA school team was working to care for students who were at home in isolated circumstances. In 2021, Rob was on hand to manage the ’40 Years of SCEA’ Presidents Reception at the Great Hall at Mundaring Christian College (MCC). The Great Hall was the newest addition to MCC in 2021 and demonstrated the recent growth in MCC enrolments, juxtaposed with the history of Joan Grosser’s vision for Christian schooling in 1981 and a host of SCEA Pioneers on hand to celebrate the success of SCEA.
In 2023, Rob Edkins concludes his time at the SCEA Annual General Meeting after nine years of Association membership and more than five years as Board Chair. SCEA is in a healthier financial position than when he took over in late 2017 and the outlook is bright and optimistic for the organisation that he has overseen for a season.
SCEA’s Acting Board Chair Mr Craig Clark praised Rob’s work this week, highlighting his work ethic and his ability to navigate complicated situations during his time as Board Chair:
“I want to be the first to say how grateful I am (and on behalf of SCEA also) for the hours of service and sacrifice Rob has given to SCEA. Rob has been instrumental in taking the Association to where it is today. He and Vicki have given so much, and they now deserve an opportunity for Rob to focus on his own business and family.”